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EXCITEMENT IS building with one of the travel industry’s biggest award nights just around the corner.

The 21st Cruise Industry Awards take place next month and the event is already a sell-out.

A total of 79 finalists have been chosen by Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Australasia and will be in the running to win one of cruising’s highest honours.

More than 800 entries were received for this year’s awards with 18 categories to be judged, including 11 open to self-nomination or peer-nomination.

Key categories include ‘Agency of the Year’, ‘Cruise Consultant of the Year’, ‘Home-Based Cruise Agent/Broker of the Year’, ‘Rising Star’, ‘Cruise Champion’, ‘Promotion of the Year’ and a media award.

“This year’s nominees include not only the most successful and high-profile travel agents in our community, but also a new and determined generation of travel agents who are part of our expanded CLIA membership,” said Joel Katz, CLIA Managing Director in Australasia.

“All these travel agents have been a big part of the spectacular comeback cruising has achieved in Australia and New Zealand, so our 21st Cruise Industry Awards will recognise their enormous contribution to our industry’s success.”

Hosted by entertainer Tim Campbell, the awards will be held at The Star Event Centre in Sydney on March 9.

CLIA Cruise Industry Awards

$1m promise to local communities

INTREPID TRAVEL is pledging $1 million to local communities around the world in 2024 through its not-for-profit arm, The Intrepid Foundation.

As part of the pledge, Intrepid is matching public contributions from January 1 up to $1 million.

By ensuring contributions go twice as far, Intrepid aims to empower travellers to give back to the 45 grassroots NGOs chosen by its local teams in the destinations they visit.

Last year the foundation raised more than $2.7 million for a diverse range of community projects and appeals across the globe – the most successful fundraising year to date since the foundation was established in 2002.

“By introducing this new matching initiative, we aim to assure our travellers that any amount they’re able to give will go a long way,” said Zina Bencheikh, Intrepid’s Managing Director of EMEA.

Beyond the $1 million company donation, The Intrepid Foundation is aiming to raise a further $2 million through travellers’ contributions in 2024.

“We consistently hear from travellers who want to do more for the local communities they visit,” said Biheng Zhang, General Manager of The Intrepid Foundation.

“While giving back, our host communities must lead the way. By introducing customers to these local initiatives during their Intrepid trips, we hope to bridge an important gap and do more for the communities that have become like family through our travels.”

get in early for major travel event

TICKETS ARE on sale for the Travel Trend Summit 2024 to be staged on the Gold Coast on May 3.

The one-day live summit is designed exclusively for digitally savvy and aspiring travel business owners.

The summit aims to bridge the gap between such owners and the untapped potential that awaits them in creating a distinctive travel brand online.

Experts will demonstrate how harnessing the power of digital tools, online platforms, content design and social media can create a lasting impact, transforming the way people experience travel.

A line-up of top entrepreneurs will be in attendance at the event to be staged at the Rydges Gold Coast Airport Hotel.


Anna Shannon

Travel Agent Finder founder Anna Shannon

anna celebrates platform for success

AN INNOVATIVE online platform is celebrating a massive year connecting travellers, agents and suppliers.

So successful has Travel Agent Finder been that one agent recorded more than $230,000 in sales from leads generated by the service.

In the past year, Travel Agent Finder (TAF) has seen over:

  • 621,000 page views
  • 92,000+ website visitors
  • 494,000 social media reach

This has resulted in more than 4,200 travellers being connected with an expert, generating millions in sales for the 750+ agent members across Australia.

One of the key features of TAF is its framework for agents to showcase their expertise and destination experiences.

In the past year, 104 agent travel blogs, 61 special offers and 80 photo albums have been featured, giving agents a platform to highlight their knowledge and attract ideal clients.

“I have worked hard taking Travel Agent Finder from a pandemic-passion project into this incredible eco-system that helps travellers find experts and helps agents find trade resources and niche supplier partners to best match their clients’ needs,” said founder Anna Shannon.

“Having bootstrapped the business from the ground-up and operating as a solo team of one, I’m excited about what I can achieve with a team as I build additional resources to help me take things to the next level.”


keynote speaker unveiled for iwd event

A RENOWNED Australian author, travel writer, environmentalist and creative mentor will be the keynote speaker at an event celebrating rising stars.

Nina Karnikowski (pictured) will address attendees at the highly anticipated annual International Women’s Day (IWD) luncheon in Brisbane on March 7.

With a career spanning over a decade in travel writing, Nina Karnikowski has reshaped the narrative towards travel highlighting not only exploration, but also conservation and upliftment.

Her body of work exemplifies the transformative power of travel in addressing pressing social and environmental challenges, offering a perspective on the positive impact that conscientious travel can influence on the world.

Ms Karnikowski is the author of several highly acclaimed works, including the thought-provoking memoir The Mindful Traveller, as well as Go Lightly, Make a Living Living and The Writer Within.

The Council of Australian Tour Operators (CATO) has chosen the theme of “Our Rising Stars” for its IWD luncheon.

The event will feature a panel discussion, bringing together a group of aspirational future female leaders from within the CATO membership. The focus will be on celebrating and empowering the emerging talent in the travel industry.